By: Darci Maxwell
It only takes three minutes to drown.
That’s about as long as a typical commercial break. If you turn your head away from your children for even a few minutes when they are in the pool, you could miss the window of opportunity to save them. A person who is drowning struggles at the surface of the water for about 20-60 seconds before they are submerged, and that is the time that you need to step in and rescue your child.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the leading cause of death for children age 1-4. Swimming in a pool is 14 times more likely to cause a death for children than an automobile accident. It is important that you keep your family safe when in and around the pool. Below are 8 safety tips to make sure that your family stays safe this summer.
Never Let Them Swim Alone
The most important thing you need to do is implement a rule that your child never, ever swims alone. You cannot risk your child’s life even for a short swim in the backyard. You should always keep an eye on your kids, and stay within arms reach of your young children. If your kids are old enough to be in the pool without your supervision, make sure that they always take a buddy.
Install Pool Cameras
Unfortunately, accidental death often occurs in a neighbor’s pool — meaning that if you have a pool in your backyard, chances are a neighbor’s child will drown in it rather than your own. To prevent this from happening, install a pool camera to act as a security guard, as suggested in this blog. You can get a view of above and below water and record valuable footage (in case legal action is pursued). You will also be able to check in on your pool when you are at work, on vacation, or anywhere else that you have internet.
Have An Alarm System
Another thing you need to have in place to protect your kids (and protect your pool from intruders) is a motion sensitive alarm system. There are many different types that you can use, a floating buoy that will alarm if any weight is detected in the pool, a sonar grid beneath the water’s surface, an alarm on the pool fence, an infrared detector mounted on the sound of your pool, and personal immersion detectors that attach to your child’s wrist and will sound an alarm if they enter the pool.
Install a Fence
A huge safety precaution that you need to take is to install a fence around your pool at least 4 feet high so that children cannot climb over it. You can use whatever material you would like, iron, aluminum, chain link, vinyl, etc. This will make it more difficult for people to sneak into your pool when you are not watching. Make sure that you have a lock on your gate to secure your pool whenever it is not in use.
Require Floatation Devices
If you use the right flotation device, you can help protect your child from drowning. Make sure that you get a life vest or other flotation device that fits your child perfectly, as ill-fitting devices can cause a more dangerous situation than being without a life jacket. However, you should not depend on the life jacket to save your child’s life or use it as an excuse to let your child swim alone. Always keep an eye on your children while in the pool.
Give Your Kids Swimming Lessons
If you have a pool in your yard, it is important that your children know how to swim. Find a company that teaches swimming lessons to kids, and sign them up. If you prefer to teach your children how to swim yourself, start by getting them comfortable with the water by blowing bubbles, practicing kicking, and then slowly teaching them swimming strokes, starting with the backstroke and freestyle.
Become CPR Certified
As a pool owner, you should take it upon yourself to become CPR certified. There are many courses that you can take, from a basic online certification course to official certification from the Red Cross. You need to know what to do in case of emergency.
Establish Safety Rules
It is important that you create strict rules regarding your pool so that your kids and anyone who visits your pool is safe. It may be a good idea to post your rules where they can clearly be seen when people come for a swim. Common pool rules are: no swimming alone, no diving, no running, no horseplay, no glass, no food or drinks, always shower before entering the pool, no peeing in the pool, etc.